One way of capturing a monkey is by placing food in a cage that has a small hole just big enough for a monkey to slip its hand through. As the monkey grabs hold of the item, it is unable to get away because it’s hand forms a ball (with the food in it) and its hand cannot get through the hole without releasing the item. The simple solution to escape would be letting go of that which is in its hand; but because of its unwillingness to let go of the item, the monkey remains trapped and is inevitably captured and killed. This pretty much paints a picture of the lives of so many who choose to hold onto something and refusing to let go, even if it’s to their own detriment.
Many will agree that putting things down in our lives is often easier said than done. By “things” I’m talking about the tiresome and unnecessary loads we carry (in our lives) each day, things that weigh us down and bring us nothing but heartache and misery.
Now that can be a lot of different things to different people. To simplify it we can view it as follow: Perhaps someone has wronged you or you might have wronged someone else or perhaps a situation you had hoped would go your way ended up not going your way. Whatever the situation is, it is a load we choose to hold onto (to carry) and it only ends up bringing us down even when logic tells us to put it down and walk away. While the physical act of putting something down is not a difficult task, I often wish the same principle would apply when it comes to the loads we carry within our hearts, the things we allow and continually dwell on in our minds.
While there are some situations that are within our ability to rectify (e.g. reconciling with someone or fixing a mistake that was made), there often remains those that are simply beyond our control. These are the “things” we need to learn to let go of in order to move on with our lives. After all, what use is dwelling on or trying to fix something that remains out of our control. Yes – if you can do something that will change the outcome (bringing clarity and peace) then do it; but if you find yourself going around the same mountain time and again, perhaps it’s time for you to make peace by learning to let go of that which you’re holding onto. This is a choice that needs to be overcome – can this be rectified, or am I holding onto a lost cause? A simple choice in order to move forward.
Sadly so many people believe that they have made the decision to put the things they are holding onto down, as if to say “I’m walking away from this”, just to find themselves picking it up again the next day or the day thereafter.
Why do we find it so difficult to let go of these things? What are we hoping to see change the next time we talk or think about it? Is it only to discover that we have never really let go of it in the first place? Are we, like the monkey, really unwilling to let go of those things, setting ourselves up for more disappointment and pain? Perhaps the real reason we choose not to let go of these things comes down to one of three things: Our Pride, the attention we receive (and so lovingly hold on to) and the victim mindset we carry within. No person willingly harms themselves, unless they do so because of the above mentioned reasons. All three reasons are very destructive in their own way.
“History has taught us so much, let us learn from the mistakes of those before us.”
When we think about Pride we are reminded that this was the devil’s undoing and ultimate downfall. Looking throughout history, it was often the pride of men that destroyed great nations. It’s such a small, emotionally-driven feeling in our own lives and yet the outcome thereof can end up causing such great disasters. I wonder how we can still choose to hold onto our pride when so many people’s lives have taught us that the outcome will be no different within our own lives. History has taught us so much, let us learn from the mistakes of those before us and not repeat them ourselves.
Of course then there are those who seem to have an insatiable hunger for more attention in their own lives. Often the attention they receive is never enough, so they choose not to let go of the things that bring them sympathy from those around them. I have to ask, to what extent are they willing to run one around before those around them catch on to the fact that they aren’t really willing to do anything about their situation. In the end it will be these people who will find themselves alone with nobody for support. Just them and the thing they are still clinging to so tightly.
“Make the decision of whether or not you are going to allow your circumstance to define you.”
And then we are reminded about those who cannot seem to let go because they see themselves as nothing more than a victim. You will find that life has generally not been kind to them and listening to their stories you wonder how they were able to make it this far in life. Life is not fair, that simply remains the truth. But what makes someone great, dare I say extraordinary, is their ability to stand up even when life has beaten them down. Whether you think about Colonel Harland Sanders the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken or Abraham Lincoln who was the 16th president of the United States, you will find that both men never allowed their situations to define them. Both men rose up each time and are known today as great men. This is what separates the strong from the weak, the ability to pick yourself up and keep moving forward. Your situation was never meant to be a chain, keeping you locked down and unable to rise up and move forward. No, instead it is simply a reminder that you like so many before you, need to make the decision of whether or not you are going to allow your circumstance to define you or use the situation as a defining moment that becomes your story to encourage others of how they are able to break free. Often it simply means letting go in order to move forward.
I’ll say this again – letting go isn’t always easy, but if you want to move forward then you are going to have to learn to put things down, letting go of what you are holding onto so that you can move forward in life.
If I could touch on just two more things – it would have to be that of Regret and Loss. These are often two things that people choose to hold on to for many years. While loss is understandable (we understand that people will always long for a loved one that has passed away), the thing people have to be careful of is not allowing loss to cripple them to the point where they are unable to move forward. Your life cannot come to a complete stop simply because another’s life has ended. Yes – grieve and mourn, but there will have to come a time when mourning will come to an end and you will have to learn to move on with your life. You still have your part to play in life and in the lives of those you come in contact with. Learn to enjoy life and don’t allow grief to end yours. One day you too will have to move on and your wish will be that those you leave behind will not get stuck in the grieving process, but that they will be able to move on and make the most of their lives.
Lastly Regret – we all carry some form of regret and I’m sure that if given the opportunity to go back and rectify that mistake we wouldn’t hesitate to do so. However, the words “You Only Live Once” couldn’t be more true. You’ve made a mistake – it’s what makes us all human – there are no perfect people in this world. Instead of dwelling on the mistakes, learn from them and teach others not to do the same things. You will realise that that mistake wasn’t in vain.
We are all a work in progress, simply trying to become the best version of what we are able to be. Where ever you find yourself right now, make peace with yourself and your mistakes (even if others won’t allow you to forget it) and choose to move forward. Let other’s opinion of you be their opinion and perhaps you will even prove them wrong when you become the better person. History is full of people who made mistakes – they were punished for that mistake and yet they still moved on with life. You are only human. Learn from it, but don’t carry it with you so that you cannot move forward.